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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Adult & Child Matching Programs, Children & Youth, Youth Development Programs

Mission: The mission of Friends for Youth is to create creating quality mentoring relationships for youth who need them most. Our vision is to transform lives through the power of human relationships.

Results: During the past year, youth involved in our MENTORING SERVICES program reported ~ A reduction in risk behaviors (such as drug or alcohol use) and a decrease in legal involvement ~ A decrease in the number of skipped school days ~ An improved attitude towards school and an improvement in grades ~ An increase in future-focus activities (such as discussing career plans with an adult) ~ An increase in the number of trusting relationships with family, peers, and other adults Based on such findings, Friends for Youth is confident that our approach of long-term one-to-one mentoring, combined with ongoing staff support and services, offers the greatest opportunity for youth to benefit from a caring adult relationship. During this past year 100% of agencies served said they would recommend our Mentoring Institute services, providing an average workshop, training, and product rating of 3.8 on a 4.0 scale.

Target demographics: Mentoring Services: serves youth between the ages of 8 and 17 who live in San Mateo and northern Santa Clara Counties. These children are referred by youth professionals as being “at-risk” of not reaching their full potential due to challenges at home, at school, or in their neighborhood. Mentoring Institute: Approximately 98% of the youth served by the Mentoring Institute’s client agencies are from underserved populations similar to those served by our Mentoring Services program: foster youth, children of incarcerated parents, low-income families, or academic achievement program participants within low-income communities. Agency clients serve youth-in-need who are between the ages of 7 and 18 years of age, and provide positive and caring mentors for their youth participants in order to support their strengths and assist them in their development. While services are offered to agencies nationwide, approximately 70% are based in California. Of our California clients, nearly 60% are based in the San Francisco Bay Area/Silicon Valley.

Direct beneficiaries per year: Our Mentoring Services program serves 150 local youth-in-need each year, being both new participants and Friendships continuing past their initial one-year commitment.

Geographic areas served: Mentoring Services: San Mateo and northern Santa Clara Counties
Mentoring Institute: nationwide

Programs: Friends for Youth's Mentoring Services program matches youth-in-need with caring adult mentors in community-based one-to-one mentoring relationships. Each mentor spends a minimum of 3 hours each week with his or her mentee for at least 1 year. Our mentors are screened, trained adults who serve as positive role models. Together, the Friendship pair might choose to work on homework, visit a museum, watch a ball game, visit the mentor's workplace, or participate in an agency group activity. Staff provide ongoing, individualized support to maximize the success of each Friendship. Additional services include contact with the mentee's family, referral agent, and teacher; Mentor Groups; 3- and 12-month meetings; referrals to outside resources; and tools, such as our Academic Activity Guide. Whether they are creating tile mosaics, watching jellyfish at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, or attending the symphony for the first time, mentees are exposed to new opportunities for learning and growth.  Youth participants include youth between the ages of 8 and 17 who live in San Mateo and northern Santa Clara Counties. These young people are referred by teachers, counselors, probation officers, and other youth professionals for being "at-risk" of not reaching their full potential due to challenges at home, at school, or in their neighborhood. Such challenges put them at-risk of dropping out of school, committing or becoming victims of violence, using drugs or alcohol, becoming teen parents, or simply not living up to their full potential. Our racially/ethnically diverse beneficiaries live primarily in low- or very low-income households: most are single-parent homes or families where both parents are working outside the home, often at more than one job. Overall, our mentees have an additional special need: many have never flown a kite, chased waves on the beach, been to a ball game, or had experiences typically associated with youth. Our services are designed for young people who cannot access other resources because of cost, transportation, waiting lists, or challenges which make them ineligible to participate. Rather than offer broad-based services to a large number of youth, Friends for Youth offers crucial, intensive services to at-risk children most in need of resources and support.

Community Stories

8 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a mentor with the Friends for Youth program for alittle over than a year. It's been great experience every step of the way. I was a bit intimidated initially because mentoring seems to be such a big responsibility/commitment. Any fears or concerns I may have had were gone the moment I began engaging with the FFY team. They run a professional and supportive program. As with most things in life, the hardest part is just getting started. I am so glad I took that first step. I am proud to be associated with this nonprofit. I can't recommend it highly enough.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The mentoring services team is fabulous. They work to understand your values, passion, experience and match you appropriately with a youth. I have been with my junior friend for almost two years. It has been a positive experience for both of us. I look forward to continuing my relationship with him and helping him reach his full potential!

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband and I have been volunteers with Friends for Youth for 4+ years. They are fabulous at connecting at risk kids with appropriate mentors. These relationships give the children the opportunity to experience new and exciting things in their community that they may never had a chance to access. The training FFY provides for their mentors is very good and their screening process extremely thorough. I love this organization!

13

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Friends for Youth has a model that is proven to make a difference. Mentoring works in many venues, but providing an at risk youth with a positive, caring role model really can influence whether the path chosen is productive and positive. FFY needs mentors, board members and donors, as well as corporate supporters who "get" the model and work to make it happen0.

13

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When I heard about Friends for Youth, I was really interested in becoming a senior friend/mentor. I kept saying tomorrow, when work lets up, when my travel schedule declines, when....and then one day I it clicked....you have to make the time to reach out and help. I was matched in January with a young boy, age 9. Over the past 8 months we have formed a heartwarming relationship that is built on trust, guidance, friendship, and dependability. We both value our friendship and I can honestly say, it is good for my heart and soul.

10

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Friends for Youth is a jewel of an organization that has been addressing the issues of at risk kids for 30 years! Mentoring is a proven methodology for introducing and supporting healthier behaviors and lifestyles, and FFY knows how to both match mentors and mentees for the best results, and provide the practical and emotional support that facilitates the best possible experience. I am proud to be a part of this important and high impact effort.

6 Rob

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I initially came to Friends for Youth after graduating from UC Berkeley because a friend told me about her experiences with the organization, specifically what a great time she was having with her Junior Friend (mentee). Little did I know that 19 years later, I would still be involved with the organization. After being matched with my first Junior Friend, I felt this was an amazing organization with a great mission and staff to support it. During our official year, Marvin and I visited Alcatraz, Disneyland, Lake Shasta and made many trips to the pool. I initially thought I could help Marvin improve his studies but soon learned that just spending quality time together making meals and talking about our lives would become the biggest takeaway for me. I got so much more out of the relationship than I expected because the staff did such a great job of matching me with Marvin and supporting us throughout the year. After our official year completed, we decided to continue seeing each other and Marvin slowly but surely worked himself into my family and group of friends. A few years ago, I attended a San Francisco Giants game for kids who were waiting to be matched with a Senior Friend. After an on field ceremony where Friends for Youth received an award, we were invited to watch the game in the bleachers. Shortly after the game began, one of the kids sat next to me and we had one of those conversations that people have with close friends. After the game, one of the staff members approached me about becoming a Senior Friend for a second time. A few months later, I was matched with RJ and we were off to the races. Because RJ lives close to my office at Oracle, we spent many hours at California Pizza Kitchen working our way through their pizza menu and conversations about school and life. More than half way into our official year together (and visits to the Exploratorium, California Academy of Sciences, more SF Giants baseball games) RJ asked if I wanted to come to his Back to School Night. I gladly accepted his invitation and had the opportunity to meet all of his teachers and school couselor. This really was a turning point in our relationship as he took the initiative to bring me into his academic life which most kids his age would not ever think to do of most adults in their lives. After learning that RJ was very interested in art and graphics, we went to the Museum of Modern Art, took a tour of the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and even met with friends that work at Electronic Arts. As I have been involved with the program for quite some time, I can honestly say that this is a world class and award winning organization that really makes the difference in the lives of kids who just need to have a positive person who believes in and supports them. We are obviously doing something right as many youth organizations take advantage of our best practices through workshops facilitated by our Mentoring Institute. I am happy to give Friends for Youth five stars as they are clearly on the cutting edge of the mentoring field and continuously seem to improve on their ability to make successful matches and create long term relationships!

11

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Friends for Youth helped me discover the true meaning of mentoring. By being a mentor for over three years to an at-risk boy I was not only able to give back to the community in an enormously rewarding way, but I also learned a lot about myself, including recognizing the mentors of my own past. Friends for Youth is a great organization run by a passionate team who go through great lengths to help the at-risk youth of the San Francisco Bay Area. Successful one-on-one mentoring goes beyond pairing a responsible adult with a child, Friends for Youth has a fantastic model and great support throughout the mentorship that has resulted in amazing success rates. Friends for Youth is truly making a difference to the lives of disadvantaged children and society as whole. I'd encourage anyone who is considering to volunteer or donate to go with Friends for Youth.